Choosing a data plan is tough, especially when Indian Internet Service Providers are still providing misleading information to the users.
In March 2012, TRAI had released a directive asking service providers to stop misleading customers with their advertisement. It said:
“Advertising the titles of the tariff plans or other packages/schemes, which suggest unlimited usage, will be treated as misleading in situations where the features of such plan/scheme/package put restrictions on the quantum of usage in any manner including by way of Fair Usage Policy etc. on the usage. Thus, a plan advertised, as ‘unlimited free calls’ would mislead if there is daily limit or ceiling on the total minute of usage either by way of fair usage policy or otherwise. For a common man the term ‘unlimited’ would only mean without any limit whatsoever.”
It clearly states that Telcos are not to advertise any plans as unlimited if there’s any kind of limit to it. Yet, telcos have been offering unlimited plans with FUPs, after one hits the FUP, it downgrades the speed which is almost unusable. We are talking of 64kbps in some cases. That’s like almost taking us back to the era of dial up.
Technically, the telcos are offering unlimited data, albeit at a lower speed. In July 2012, TRAI had released another directive asking telcos to clearly mention all FUPs while they advertise a plan. While telcos do that, it is not clear whether Telcos can advertise these plans as “unlimited plans”, as clearly consumers can’t take full benefit of the speed because of the FUP. If you ask me, TRAI should come forward and release a directive for telcos to stop advertising these plans as unlimited. ISPs too, as a general code of conduct, should try avoiding fooling people. Agreed that most of the telcos are in loss or are facing little no profit, business can also be conducted without the need to fool your own customers.
While consumers who are used to these malpractices, might go and look for the terms with every tariff plans out there, there’s a larger group of people who don’t and are still fooled by the unlimited plans. Some of the offenders include RCOM, Vodafone, Ideacellular, among others. Surprisingly, Airtel doesn’t advertise any of its plans as unlimited, and is among one of the good guys, for a change.
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